Talk, talk, talk. The biggest accomplishment of the seven party alliance leaders for the past three months is to talk. But all that talk is now meaningless. The growing gap between the NC and the Maoists indicates a big crisis ahead for the country. Instead of leading to agreements, the talks are centred around one party using parliament as a strategic venue to threaten to go to the streets unless everyone agrees to their point of view.
The Maoists want parliament declaring a republic and a fully-proportional election system. The NC doesn't agree and the two have been trying to sort it out with some help from the UML and Jana Morcha this week. The idea is to have a political agreement so that the winter session of parliament can announce an election date. But the likelihood of that happening looks remote.
Instead of compromise, the NC and the Maoists are busy trying to isolate one another by bringing other members of the alliance to their side. The Maoist leader Prachanda has said elections are no longer his party's priority. The Maoists have also announced that they will disrupt parliamentary proceedings if the house doesn't agree with their demands. Baburam Bhattarai has bluntly said parliamentary politics has harmed his party.
Even while there are outstanding disagreements over the two Maoist conditions, the party has raised new conditions: removing the prime minister and declaring a republic from the streets. Analysts say the Maoists have been emboldened by their alliance with the UML in the special session and now want to improve their bargaining position. Maoist policy is being set by the hardliner factions led by Ram Bahadur Thapa. Analysis say the Maoists want an upper hand now because they think the party will otherwise suffer irreversible loss.
Meanwhile in the tarai the JTMM and Sadbhabana (Mahato) are moving ahead with a blatant separatist agenda. If this agitation escalates it will be a threat to the country's sovereignity and will further support the separatists.